harassment

Deadline For Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training - October 9, 2019

New York requires employers to conduct sexual harassment training for its employees. Do not miss this deadline. We offer flat fee sexual harassment training. Avoid the fines, educate your workforce, and be smart! We have no nonsense transparent pricing - we will conduct a comprehensive, legally compliant training session, and follow up with certificates of completion for your company. We charge a flat fee of $1,000 (plus, if outside of Manhattan, travel costs), nothing more. No hidden fees, no bs. Just legally compliant training and a transparent no-nonsense price.

What If I Don’t Train My Employees By October 9, 2019?

Consider yourself a gambler since you could be subject to a misdemeanor and a $100 per employee penalty for the failure to comply with training.  Depending on the number of employees you have, this can add up quickly.  If you have multiple violations or other types of violations, the cost can go up as high as $500 per employee.  In the most extreme situations, an employer may even be subject to additional fines and imprisonment.[1]

But $100-$500 Per Employee Is Not the Only Cost . . .

If you fail to train your employees regarding sexual harassment, you leave yourself very vulnerable should you be sued for sexual harassment.  By failing to provide sexual harassment training, you make defending such an action much more difficult because you have disregarded an easy part of the law—helping your employees understand what sexual harassment is.  Plus, depending on the applicable law, you may lose certain defenses otherwise available to you. In a worst-case scenario, depending on the insurance you carry, your insurance carrier could challenge coverage to you since you did not comply with the law.  PLUS, all of this precedes whether or not there is actually an underlying violation of the sexual harassment law where damages may include an employee’s lost salary, compensation for emotional distress, punitive damage awards, and attorneys’ fees.

So, What Does This Training Need To Do?

The training must:

  • be interactive

  • include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights

  • include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment

  • include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment

  • include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints

  • include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors

How Can I Get Help From Your Firm?

If you would like to discuss your situation with us, please feel free to call or email us at any time. You will be on the phone with an attorney within 24 hours.

 

[1] See New York Labor Law § 213.

My Boss Sent Me a Dick Pic. What Should I Do?

A woman telephoned our law firm the other day to ask one of the starkest questions we've ever heard:  “So, my boss texted me a dick pic last night.  What do I do?” 

It's an infuriating fact of life: women who want nothing more than to have a good career and earn a good living confront some ugly behavior by men.  Sometimes that behavior is outright illegal; sometimes it is merely disgusting.  In either case, it can be helpful to have the advice of an employment lawyer.

So, if your boss emails you a picture of a penis, or if he texts you a selfie of himself in underwear, or if sends you a link to porn, what should you do?

First – Save the message.  You don't have to look at it again, just save it somewhere that it can't be deleted.  For example, if he sends you a picture can only be viewed from your work computer, take a picture of it on your personal phone.  The photo may be repulsive, but it is important evidence.  And the first thing you can do to stand up for yourself and protect yourself is preserve that evidence.

Second – Give yourself some time to think.  Do you like your job, and want to stay?  Or would you prefer to negotiate a severance and move on with your career elsewhere?  Do you want your boss to be fired, or do you want to be able to work with him the future, and move on from this stupid incident?   Do you prefer to handle the situation yourself, or do you want someone else to be your adviser and advocate?   

Third – As the saying goes, "First plan your work, then work your plan."  If you want to leave your job and get a severance, you might want to call an employment lawyer.  If you want to stay at your job, but have your boss disciplined, you might want to report the incident internally.  If you want to handle it privately, you may want to message your boss directly. 

But no matter what, you absolutely do not have to take that sort of nonsense from your boss.  If your boss is harassing you with dick pics or naked selfies or porn, you can contact an employment lawyer and fight back.  Call or e-mail us any time.  We are here to help.

 

Liberal Standard for Hostile Work Environment Claims Under the New York City Human Rights Law

Sexual Harassment – New York City A group of female plaintiffs alleged that the defendant, a doctor, created a sexually hostile work environment in violation of the New York State and City Law.  Plaintiffs claimed that the doctor sent them, as well as other employees (both male and female), offensive emails, and made various sexual comments and gestures toward them, including remarks regarding their breasts. The lower court granted the doctor’s motion for summary judgment, reasoning that the doctor’s conduct would be equally offensive to male and female employees. On appeal, the appellate court held that a jury could reasonably determine that the defendant sent the emails to provoke a reaction from women in the office, and that the plaintiffs were singled out from male employees. The appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ evidence fell short of meeting the severe and pervasive standard required to state a claim under the New York State Law, but that under the City Law, questions of severity and pervasiveness are irrelevant. Accordingly, the appellate court held that the plaintiffs’ claim survived because the doctor’s conduct, even if “isolated,” signaled that the doctor considered it appropriate to foster an office environment that degraded women.  The court therefore reinstated the plaintiffs’ claim under the City Law.  The case is Hernandez v. Kaisman, No. 104989/07 (1st Dep’t Dec. 27, 2012).

If you feel you have been subjected to a hostile work environment, or have been unlawfully terminated, please contact us.

Should I Quit My Job?

NYC Severance Attorneys
NYC Severance Attorneys

Should I quit my job? Our experienced New York Employment Lawyers are asked this question all the time.  Usually, the answer is NO.  If you are thinking about quitting, contact one of our experienced New York Employment Lawyers and Severance Agreement Lawyers.  We can help advise you and possibly soften your landing with a severance agreement. In most states, harassment and bullying are not illegal.  These are only illegal if they are due to race, age, sex, disability, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, objecting to an illegal practice of the employer, making a worker’s compensation claim, taking Family and Medical Leave, your testimony under subpoena, serving on jury duty, or some other legally-protected category.

What you should do is report the harassment or bullying to human resources or whoever the appropriate person at your company is.  Make the report in writing.  You have to give your employer time to investigate and take action to stop it.

You should also consider whether you are a victim of constructive discharge. A humiliating demotion, punitive transfer or hostility toward you are among the types of changes that might entitle you to claim constructive discharge after you resign. For example, if you resign because of intolerable discrimination or sexual harassment, or because your employer transferred or demoted you to an undesirable position in retaliation for reporting a wrongdoing, your immediate, resulting resignation might constitute constructive discharge.

Nevertheless, the law hates quitters – don’t do it.  If you want to leave, please contact us – we can help.

Is this Harassment Illegal? | NY Harassment Lawyers

Let our NY Harassment Lawyers help you. We receive many calls from potential clients inquiring whether the harassment they are experiencing at work is illegal.  Most people assume that the harassment is illegal because it is unfair, degrading and/or abusive.  However, NY Harassment Law does not protect employees unless the harassment is severe and pervasive AND is based on a protected characteristic.  This means that we need to be able to prove that the harassment you are suffering at work it a result of your race, gender, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation or other protected characteristic.  If that harassment is not based on one of these protected characteristics, it is not protected by the law.  Unfortunately, the law allows an employee to quit if he is unhappy with the work environment, but it does not protect the employee from the abuse unless the employee can meet the requirements for an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Our NY Harassment Lawyers can help you analyze your potential claims.

NYC Unlawful Termination Lawyers
NYC Unlawful Termination Lawyers

If you have questions regarding whether you are suffering illegal harassment, please contact our NY Employment Lawyers.

Employment Discrimination - Stray Remarks

One remark is not enough to constitute discrimination. When can you bring an employment discrimination lawsuit based on stray remarks? One comment will almost never, standing alone, make a discrimination lawsuit.  Even an extreme statement, such as a racial slur, sexual joke, pornography, or the like is not sufficient to make out a claim for employment discrimination on its own.  There has to be more.  Below are a few examples of what may suffice to show discrimination.

  1. Adverse employment action:  termination, demotion, suspension without pay, failure to hire, etc. might be enough to show discrimination along with that one remark (depending on what the one remark was). For example, if your boss makes a comment about how women with kids need to stay home and then fires you as soon as he finds out you’re pregnant, you might have a pregnancy discrimination case.
  2. Severe or pervasive conduct:  anything short of an adverse action is considered harassment. Harassment has to be either so severe or so pervasive that it alters the terms and conditions of your employment. That means there would have to be many jokes, comments or differing treatment to rise to the level of illegal harassment.

But don’t get us wrong -- the discriminatory remark is very important.  The remark is evidence and if it related to your protected status (e.g., a racial epithet), then it’s direct evidence of discriminatory animus.

What should you do if your boss makes discriminatory comments?

  1. You should report remarks that directly relate to race, national origin, color, religion, age, sex, disability, genetic information or other protected status in accordance with the company harassment policy.  Put the report in writing.  But don’t go to HR every day and every time there’s a problem.  Use your judgment.  Document any remarks and take them to HR after you have a few. While you might report the first remark, if they don’t take action to stop it, then don’t make yourself a nuisance. Do report any acceleration of the behavior or any retaliation.
  2. You have to report harassment before you can even go to the EEOC, and you have to file with EEOC before you can sue. Don’t skip the steps or you’ll have your case tossed.
  3. Bullying isn’t illegal. If the comments don’t relate to your race, age, sex, national origin, etc. then don’t report them unless you’re being treated differently compared to others of a different race, age, sex, national origin, etc. Unfortunately, it is perfectly legal to be an equal opportunity jerk.
  4. Don’t quit.
  5. Contact us.  We can help!

Some Things to Think About If Your Employment is Terminated

What should I do if I get fired? Here some things to think about if your employment is terminated:

  • Were you offered severance agreement?  If so, make sure an attorney reviews the severance agreement.  You will be giving up rights, and may be agreeing to take less than you are entitled to or worth.
  • For example, if you have a pension, your severance agreement may be releasing your rights under ERISA, the federal law governing pensions. Make sure you are not accidentally giving up your pension rights. If you had an employer-matched 401 and are not vested, you are probably giving up the employer contribution to your 401.
  • Did you have a non-compete agreement?  If so, it could limit your ability to get a new job.  If not, your employer may include one (as part of your severance agreement), which may limit your ability to get a new job. If the time restriction is longer than the number of weeks of severance, it is probably not worth signing the agreement unless you are going into an entirely new field.
  • If you did sign a non-compete agreement prior to starting your job or during the course of your employment, you should also have an attorney review it for you to make sure you understand your limitations before you sign a severance agreement.  You will most likely be reaffirming those restrictions in a severance agreement, so may be giving up your defenses to the non-competition provisions.  Some employers will try to add restrictions you did not have, make the restrictions longer or for a larger geographic area.  Some know that they had an agreement that was not enforceable and use the severance agreement to put in place an enforceable provision.
  • Is the release mutual?  If the employer wants you to release them from any claims, they should also release you.  Some employers require employees to sign releases and then turn around and sue the former employee for alleged wrongdoing on the job.  Mutual releases assure that any claims are released by both sides.  In banking or other financial arenas, the employer will want an exception for undiscovered financial fraud/embezzlement, which should be acceptable.  But if they know about it at the time of the agreement, they should be willing to release it or give up their right to a release so the employee can assert any defenses or counterclaims he or she might have.
  • Is confidentiality mutual?  Employers want the severance agreement to be kept confidential.  But if the employer does not have to keep it confidential, they may get cute and say things to references like, “I have to look at the agreement to see what I’m allowed to say.”  Protect yourself and make sure that they can’t disclose the existence of the agreement to potential employers.
  • Include non-disparagement provisions.  You don’t want your employer to be able to say bad things to potential employers or to customers, co-workers or others in the community.  They will likely want the non-disparagement to be mutual, to keep you from bad-mouthing them, which is acceptable.  It is worth the peace of mind to know that they will not be making negative comments that keep you from future employment.
  • Do you have health insurance?  Many employers will pay some or all of your COBRA payments to tide you over while you are working.  You need to make sure you understand what will happen to your insurance benefits upon termination.
  • Do you have stock options, stock appreciation rights, or other similar rights?  Make sure the agreement is not making you give up valuable rights you may have.  If you were fired to keep you from vesting, you may have claims against the employer.
  • Do you have any potential claims against the employer?  Potential claims may give you leverage to negotiate a severance package if it is not offered, or to negotiate a better package.  Ask yourself some questions:
    • Am I of a different race, age, sex, national origin, marital status, color, or religion from those who were not terminated for the same reason or offense?  If so, you may have a discrimination claim.
    • Was I recently sexually harassed or the victim of other discriminatory harassment based upon race, age, religion, national origin, marital status, color, or disability?  You can’t be fired in retaliation for reporting such harassment.
    • Did I recently report, object to, or refuse to participate in discrimination, harassment, or illegal activity?  If so, you may be a whistleblower.
    • Did I recently make a worker’s compensation claim?  If so, it’s illegal to terminate you for making such a claim, and you also need to make sure you are not giving up your worker’s compensation claim in the agreement.
    • Did I recently take leave due to bereavement, sickness, disability, or serious medical condition of a family member?  If so, you may have a Family and Medical Leave Act claim.
    • Does the employer owe me overtime or wages?  Make sure you are paid what you are owed.  Plus, failure to pay wages is a great defense to a non-compete agreement.
    • Did I recently testify against the employer or in any court case where I was subpoenaed?  You can’t be terminated for your testimony under subpoena.
    • Am I pregnant?  You can’t be terminated for your pregnancy, or because you recently gave birth and the employer has stereotypical beliefs about women with children.
    • Did the employer breach a contract with me?
    • Am I over 40?  If so, in a layoff or redundancy, the employer is supposed to provide you with a list of the ages of the others laid off or made redundant so you can determine whether or not age discrimination has occurred.

If you are in doubt about your rights or any potential claims you may have, contact an attorney at our firm to discuss your options.  Someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

 

NY Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Let a NY Sexual Harassment Lawyer Help You

NY Sexual Harassment Lawyers can assist you with any harassment or discrimination issues that you are experiencing at work.  Our lawyers handle a host of other NY Discrimination Law issues.  NY Employment Law, NYC Employment Law and Federal Employment law all protect employees from illegal treatment at work.  Let our NY Sexual Harassment Lawyers help you understand your rights and get what you have earned.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment at work for any reason, please contact a NY Sexual Harassment Lawyer at our firm for a free initial consultation.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any verbal or physical interaction which is both unwanted and sexual in nature.  Sexual harassment can also take the form of sexual suggestions or explicit language, or a pattern of sexist remarks. According to the EEOC, sexual harassment occurs, "when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment."

Examples of Sexual Harassment

  • Verbal abuse, jokes or conversations about sex
  • Offensive words on clothing, and unwelcome comments and repartee.
  • Touching and any other bodily contact such as scratching or patting a coworker's back, grabbing an employee around the waist, or interfering with an employee's ability to move.
  • Pressure for sex or dates, or unwanted flirting.
  • Transmitting or posting emails or pictures of a sexual or other harassment-related nature.  These can be posters, calendars, signs or clothing.
  • Sexually oriented entertainment at a work related event.
  • Playing sexually suggestive music.
  • Comments on a person’s appearance that make the person uncomfortable because of his or her sex.
  • Unwanted touching.
  • Offering promotions or other job favors for sex, or threatening retaliation for denial of sex.

For more information on NYC sexual harassment, see:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/html/employment.html

For more information on sexual harassment, see:  http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sexual_harassment.cfm

If you feel that you have been the victim of sexual harassment, please contact us for a free initial consultation.